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The Possible Unemployment Cost of Average Inflation below a Credible Target

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  • Lars E. O. Svensson

Abstract

If inflation expectations become firmly anchored at the inflation target even when average inflation deviates from the target, the long-run Phillips curve becomes nonvertical. During 1997-2011, average inflation expectations in Sweden have been close to the inflation target of 2 percent, whereas average inflation has fallen short of the target by 0.6 percentage points. The estimates reported suggest that the slope of the long-run Phillips curve is about 0.75. Then the average unemployment rate has been about 0.8 percentage points higher than if average inflation had been on target. This is a large unemployment cost of undershooting the inflation target. (JEL D84, E24, E31, E52, E58)

Suggested Citation

  • Lars E. O. Svensson, 2015. "The Possible Unemployment Cost of Average Inflation below a Credible Target," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 258-296, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:258-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20130176
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lars E O Svensson, 2005. "Monetary Policy with Judgment: Forecast Targeting," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
    2. Jansson, Per & Vredin, Anders, 2003. "Forecast-Based Monetary Policy: The Case of Sweden," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 349-380, Winter.
    3. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1997. "Inflation forecast targeting: Implementing and monitoring inflation targets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1111-1146, June.
    4. Thomas Jonsson & Pär Österholm, 2012. "The properties of survey-based inflation expectations in Sweden," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 79-94, February.
    5. Stefan Laséen & Lars E.O. Svensson, 2009. "Anticipated Alternative Instrument-Rate Paths in Policy Simulations," NBER Working Papers 14902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Glenn Rudebusch & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 203-262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nessen, Marianne & Vestin, David, 2005. "Average Inflation Targeting," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 837-863, October.
    8. Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew T. Levin, 2014. "Labor Force Participation and Monetary Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(S2), pages 3-49, October.
    9. Carl Andreas Claussen, 2013. "Are Swedish houses overpriced?," International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(2), pages 180-196, May.
    10. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis J. Snower, 2001. "Insiders versus Outsiders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 165-188, Winter.
    11. Leitemo, Kai, 2003. " Targeting Inflation by Constant-Interest-Rate Forecasts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 609-626, August.
    12. Per Lundborg & Hans Sacklén, 2006. "Low‐inflation Targeting and Long‐run Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(3), pages 397-418, October.
    13. Michael Woodford, 2007. "The Case for Forecast Targeting as a Monetary Policy Strategy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
    14. Pierre Gosselin & Aileen Lotz & Charles Wyplosz, 2008. "The Expected Interest Rate Path: Alignment of Expectations vs. Creative Opacity," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(3), pages 145-185, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Fredrik N. G. & Jonung, Lars, 2018. "Lessons for Iceland from the Monetary Policy of Sweden," Working Papers 2018:16, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    2. Francesca Rondina, 2018. "Estimating Unobservable Inflation Expectations in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, February.
    3. Eric M. Leeper & James M. Nason, 2014. "Bringing Financial Stability into Monetary Policy," CAMA Working Papers 2014-72, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    4. Stefano, Fasani, 2016. "Long-run Unemployment and Macroeconomic Volatility," Working Papers 352, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 18 Oct 2016.
    5. Friedrich, Christian, 2016. "Global inflation dynamics in the post-crisis period: What explains the puzzles?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 31-34.
    6. Mallick, Debdulal, 2016. "Policy Regimes and the Shape of the Phillips Curve in Australia," MPRA Paper 71082, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.
    7. Ricardo Reis, 2013. "Central Bank Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 17-44, Fall.
    8. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Manuel M. F. Martins & Maria Joana Soares, 2019. "The Phillips Curve at 60: time for time and frequency," CEF.UP Working Papers 1902, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    9. A. Stevens, 2013. "What inflation developments reveal about the Phillips curve: implications for monetary policy," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 67-76, December.
    10. Patra, Michael Debabrata & Khundrakpam, Jeevan Kumar & Gangadaran, Sivaramakrishnan, 2017. "The quest for optimal monetary policy rules in India," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 349-370.
    11. Andersson, Fredrik N. G. & Jonung, Lars, 2014. "The Return of the Original Phillips curve? An Assessment of Lars E. O. Svensson's Critique of the Riksbank's Inflation Targeting, 1997-2012," Working Papers 2014:28, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Dec 2015.
    12. Andersson, Fredrik N. G. & Jonung, Lars, 2017. "How Tolerant Should Inflation-Targeting Central Banks Be? Selecting the Proper Tolerance Band - Lessons from Sweden," Working Papers 2017:2, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    13. Andrea Vaona, 2015. "Anomalous empirical evidence on money long-run super-neutrality and the vertical long-run Phillips curve," Working Papers 17/2015, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    14. Eric M. Leeper & James M. Nason, 2014. "Bringing Financial Stability into Monetary Policy," CAMA Working Papers 2014-72, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    15. Calmfors, Lars, 2015. "The Swedish Macroeconomic Policy Framework," Working Paper Series 1075, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    16. Lennart Erixon, 2015. "Can fiscal austerity be expansionary in present-day Europe? The lessons from Sweden," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 3(4), pages 567—601-5, October.
    17. Barnichon, Régis & Mesters, Geert, 2019. "The Phillips Multiplier," CEPR Discussion Papers 13480, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Karlsson, Sune & Österholm, Pär, 2018. "Is the US Phillips Curve Stable? Evidence from Bayesian VARs," Working Papers 2018:5, Örebro University, School of Business.
    19. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew T. Levin, 2015. "Labor Market Slack and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 21094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Benati, Luca, 2015. "The long-run Phillips curve: A structural VAR investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 15-28.
    21. Hjalmarsson, Erik & Österholm, Pär, 2017. "Households’ Mortgage-Rate Expectations: More Realistic than at First Glance?," Working Papers 2017:9, Örebro University, School of Business.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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